Though I applauded Donald Trump’s cancellation of the TPP trade deal, I also notice myself bristling at his continuous invocation of nationalism and “America first” as where I’m supposed to put my allegiance. Check this out:
So-called “patriotism,” frankly, makes me want to throw up.
Moreover, I also notice myself bristle when I see that the state of Indiana is now attempting to place AirB&B under state rather than local control.
Zeroing in further, on right here, right now, I notice myself bristle when the city of Bloomington’s zoning rubs up against what we want to do in our neighborhood.
All I can say is, when in doubt, decentralize! Get back to our roots! Localize! Only we who live here understand the way this place works — wherever that is. The more we humans try to universalize anything, the more abstract the laws and theories, the greater their failure in taking into account local details that make all the difference.
And yet, I’m not a “libertarian” either. I know that some people are just out for themselves, and will run all over others in order to get what they want. Moreover, roads do need to be maintained. But at what level? Communication systems also. But again, at what level. But what else, really? The bloated American military industrial complex exists not to protect America but to protect and enhance profits of weapons manufacturers who finance both sides of any wars they can manage to drum up.
Indeed, what laws are appropriate, and when? At what levels of abstraction in the body politic? How much “government” do we really need?
I have no idea. All I know is the increasing centralization of power is worrisome, that it may be dissolving, and that the sooner the better.
On the other hand, is it really dissolving? Here’s another point of view:
Let’s do a thought experiment.
What if we see the map of the U.S. as a map of various countries, each of them the size of one that already exists elsewhere:
Better yet, let’s look again at the U.S., in terms of various visions of its bioregions. Here are two:
I would much rather think of myself as an inhabitant of, say the Ohio River Valley than of the United States. Place-based. Yes. Speaking of which, here’s a new website for a new organization that also serves as a regional hub for the Permaculture Institute of North America. I love the way the title just rolls off the tongue.
Of course, at some point, the same critique of “centralization” might be directed against permaculture! We are all engaged in eternal dance of the struggle between the One and the Many. Let us always remember to hold, and honor, both in our minds at once.